There is longstanding reservation about whether socio-economic rights are of the same order as civil and political rights and, although there is a move away from the tendency to question the bona fides of socio-economic rights, their recognition has tended to be half-hearted. This publication, Socio-Economic Rights in the South African Constitution: Theory and practice, seeks to inquire into the articulation of theory and practice in the commitment to the respect, promotion and realisation of socio-economic rights in South Africa. In particular it considers whether the rights listed in the Bill of Rights have been given effect to and gives an understanding of the processes and procedures followed by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in monitoring the rights.
In Chapter 2 Seleoane examines what human rights are and he uses this exercise as a basis, in Chapter 3, for inquiring whether socio-economic rights deserve to be approached with circumspection. In Chapter 4, he enquires into the methodological strengths and weaknesses of a study conducted by the SAHRC in the implementation of socio-economic rights in South Africa in 1998, the period considered, and examines the findings thereof in Chapter 5. Conclusions about accountability and the monitoring of government policy are drawn in Chapter 6, assisting the understanding of researchers, students and the public of socio-economic rights.